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Strapping Young Lad: SYL

Boy, Devin Townsend certainly sounds like an angry young man. On this self-titled fourth album, Devin and the Strapping Young Lad's wail away with manic ferocity throughout ten disturbing and chaotic tracks. Apparently influenced by the events of September 11, 2001, Townsend, drummer Gene Hoglan, guitarist Jed Simon, and bassist Byron Stroud, have conjured up a heavy dose of thrash, death metal, and industrial that is at times terror inducing.

This take no prisoners approach starts with the vocals of Townsend, who is an acquired taste, as his extreme style incorporates manic screams and blood curdling shouts. On some tunes, like the industrial prog-metal of "Aftermath", he goes for a more melodic tone that perfectly tells the angry tale of nations warring over religion and oil. Yet, on the lunatic frenzy of "Devour", he sounds like a demon possessed. On "Force Fed", the singer mixes some superb clean vocals with Marilyn Manson meets Chuck Shuldiner growls while the band lays down a machine gun rhythm. Former Dark Angel/Death/Testament drummer Hoglan really holds things together nicely throughout, proving that he is still one of the best thrash drummers around. However, I found that the rest of the band seems to mainly support Townsend, and their individual talents never really come through, but that is perhaps due to SYL really being an ensemble, not a launching pad for soloists. There's no shortage of heaviness on SYL, in fact I might even suggest that this CD is the most "in-your-face" and brutal recording I have heard in ages. If you like intelligent, brutal metal with industrial type speed guitar riffs, manic rhythms, and extreme vocals, this will be for you. SYL is the perfect example of a runaway train with nowhere to go but straight ahead, ready to crash, burn, and take some victims along with it.

Track Listing
1) Dire
2) Consequence
3) Relentless
4) Rape Song
5) Aftermath >br>6) Devour
7) Last Minute
8) Force Fed
9) Dirt Price
10) Bring on the Young

Added: January 29th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Century Media
Hits: 2806
Language: english

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